Does Lara Croft wear fake polygons?

Gender Analysis of the "3rd Person shooter/adventure game with female heroine" and Gender Role Subversion in the Game Patch

by Anne-Marie Schleiner


Prelogue: The first version of this article was written in the spring of 1998 and surfaced on the Web in the online graduate student zine Switch of the C.A.D.R.E. Institute in San Jose, California. The subject matter of the article emerged in part out of research for my thesis project and first game patch, Madame Polly, a 1st person shooter gender hack. Since the time it was written there has been an upsurge of interest and research in computer games among artists and media theoreticians and also considerable shifts in gaming culture at large have taken place, most notably a shift toward online games and also an increase in the number of female players. The multi-directional information space of the network offers even more hope for the sorts of interventions and gender reconfigurations discussed at the end of the article. I have followed up with further writing on these sorts of game hacking strategies in the forthcoming articles "Parasitic Interventions: Game Patches and Hacker Art", "Female Bobs Arrive at Dusk", and "Mutation.fem".[1]


Post-industrial high capitalist economies are developing into cultures of "play" where a pervasive "play ethic" is superseding the work ethic.[2] According to economist Jeremey Rifkin, as large percentages of the human labor force are rendered superfluous by more efficient technologies, we will need to reinvest value in other sorts of human activities that fall outside of the production paradigm.[3] Even within corporate environments play is seeping into the workplace, for instance, when strung out programmers blow-off steam by participating in a LAN (Local Area Network) Deathmatch.[4]

Within technoculture and disseminating out across class, ethnic and geographical barriers, younger generations up into their late twenties are devoting increasing recreation time to addictive computer games. Echoing the re-patterning of society in the wake of print, and later radio and television, computer games are socializing the younger generations of post-industrial citizens, reorganizing their world-views and thought parameters along the axes of fighting games, shooters, adventure games, strategy games, Mud’s and other networked games.[5] At it’s most extreme, a new type of subject is emerging who takes her or his game play very seriously. This person may be best described as a "gamer".

Yet postmodern and feminist theoreticians, art and technology critics and even popular culture critics in the early to mid 1990’s have to a large extent ignored the increasing popularity of computer games, lending their attention to the Web or to the considerably less ubiquitous, less tangible technology of Virtual Reality. This lack of academic research in the field of computer games can be attributed to a couple factors, the first being the notion that computer games are merely toys for children and thus properly relegated to the field of pedagogy. The second is an absence of a tradition of research and development at universities for even the technical and craft-oriented aspects of computer games–much of recent innovation has occurred within the game industry outside of University labs. Another factor may be the widespread belief that computer games are violent and unhealthy forms of entertainment and therefore don’t merit as much exploration as potentially utopian technologies like Virtual Reality.

Roving around this fairly sparse theoretical landscape, my research of the nascent "3rd person shooter/adventure game with female heroine" genre, exemplified by Eidos Interactive and Core Design’s popular game "Tomb Raider", has led me from gender analysis of film, particularly the horror film genre, to science fiction, to Virtual Reality theory, to Internet/Identity theory, to Queer theory, to my own surveys of Tomb Raider fans conducted on the Internet.[6] [7] The article then dips into the subculture of subversive game hacking and the production of game patches, art strategies that provide an opportunity for feminists and gender hackers alike to influence the formation of new game gender configurations. This text is written as a tour guide into a curious terrain with side attractions along the way both familiar and outlandish. It is not about wrapping things up in puncture proof bubble of thesis, proof, and conclusion (that reiterates thesis). Nevertheless, this jaunt through computer game genres, game player subjectivity, and online game hacker culture will lead us to someplace where we would not have arrived without pausing to wonder at various things along the way.

Before Tomb Raider

"When one considers the progress that has been made during the medium’s first 25 years, it is enormous. Even film, another rapidly developing medium, was, for the most part, still black and white and silent after its first quarter century. Comparing Pong to 64-bit CD-ROM-based games, it is difficult to say what even the next five years will bring, much less what the effects of such future technology will be."

-Mark J. P. Wolf, Prof. of Communications[8]

"Sometimes a killer body just isn’t enough."

-back of "Tomb Raider" CD case

The first computer games displayed simple abstract graphics, (Figure 1), structuring visual on/off-screen space and interactivity in a variety of novel configurations.[9] With ever increasing graphical processing speed, computer games are catching up to the West’s dream of Virtual Reality, of Jaron Lanier’s and other virtual reality evangelists’, artists’ and science fiction writer’s depictions of a holistic Cartesian 3-Dimensional space navigated/created by the individual viewer. In his article "Virtual Reality as The End of the Enlightenment Project," artist and media theorist Simon Penny tracks the humanist gaze of the user in popular conceptions of "Virtual Reality" to the subject position inhabited by the viewer of a Renaissance painting. Penny locates a "yearning" for illusionary Cartesian realities rooted in Western culture since the Enlightenment. [10]

Figure 1. Black Widow, a 1980’s style 2-D game. This game is an example of the 2 dimensional games popular in the 1980s. Spiders and bugs are restricted to moving on the single flat plane of the spider web.

The actions occurring in this first widely implemented form of 3-D "cyberspace", 3-D game space, are not virtual adaptations of everyday social relations, as predicted by early cyberpunk novelists, but a codified set of behaviors particular to certain game genres. In the case of the shooter/adventure game, itself a hybrid of what were once two genres (shooter and adventure), activities are relegated to fighting off attackers, exploration of "undiscovered" spaces, and puzzle solving.

Until recently, the avatars in these games were almost exclusively male, with the exception of the princess offered as game prize in "Prince of Persia", "Double Dragon" and other games with women as battle trophies. This notable feminine absence led Gillian Skirrow to locate femininity in the computer game’s womb-like tunneling architecture.[11] Enter Lara Croft, the first immensely popular female game action heroine from the game "Tomb Raider" released in 1996. Although countless fan Web sites attest to her international status as female "cyberstar", she embodies an impure history quite distant from the networked, non-individualistic and non-competitive, community-oriented values being promoted by some cyberfeminists on the Internet.[12]

The Gender Make-up of Lara Croft

My approach to the Lara Croft archetype is best served by using an analytical modus operandum that is cyborgian, piece-meal, and polymorphous. This analysis does not privilege one theoretical lens antithetically to others; its shape is closer to a multidimensional matrix stack of interlocking data with alternating gender matrices pushing upward to the surface. To say it another way, my analysis does not attempt to fixate the subject into one final position in relation to her or his Lara Croft avatar but allows for a multiplicity of sometimes quite contrary positions and subjectivities. A single subject may morph and oscillate between these positions or roles, or gravitate more strongly towards one "player subject position". With particular attention to gender, I have isolated a few of these positions to discuss, delineating a few specific patterns of how a player/subject meshes with her or his avatar/character, which I will refer to as "gender subject configurations."

  1. Lara as female Frankenstein. Lara Croft is the monstrous offspring of science, an idealized, eternally young female automaton, a malleable, well-trained techno-puppet created by and for the male gaze.[13] Tomb Raider is a"3rd Person shooter" where the player actually sees the body of her/his own avatar. In a "first person shooter", the player's avatar is invisible to her or himself but visible to other players if it is a multiplayer game. The "3rd Person" angled view of Lara Croft from behind and below, and the shifting close-up and wide angle camera angles, effect a visual fragmentation of Lara ’s Barbie-like proportions. In her 1970 landmark essay "Visual Pleasure in Narrative Cinema," Laura Mulvey described the cinematic mechanisms by which women's bodies are fetishized, fragmented, and posited as objects of "the male gaze". We see these same cinematic techniques at work in Tomb Raider.[14] The popular Nuderaider patch, (Figure 2), a pornographic game add-on that removes Lara Croft’s clothing, is further evidence of this gender-subject configuration which posits Lara as fetish object of the male gaze.
  2. The fusion of femininity, death and technology in characters like Lara Croft is a lucrative and enduring formula in capitalist market-based economies, a potent combination noted as early as 1951 in Marshall McLuhan’s essay, "The Mechanical Bride."[15] Lara Croft traces her lineage to nineteenth century science fiction robots, gothic literature, the female robot in Fritz Lang’s "Metropolis", mannequins, blow-up dolls and comic book heroines. She is a product of the mechanization of bodies beginning in the Industrial Revolution; her fetishized synthetic beauty resides in her slick and glistening 3-D generated polygons, evolved from clunky robotic metals into more appropriate attire for Information Society.[16]

    Figure 2. The Nude Raider Patch for Tomb Raider II. The Nude Raider Patch for Tomb Raider II exhibits a higher resolution and smoother surface than the very clunky looking angular Nude Raider Patch for the first Tomb Raider. Even this Nude Raider Patch for Tomb Raider II has a crude absurdly robotic low surface polygon count which somehow does not deter its many fans.

    Some feminists view Lara the female Frankenstein as a disturbing trend in computer gaming culture, where boys and men are permitted to develop unrealistic ideals of female body type or in the extreme case, dispense with relating to human women whatsoever, replacing them with easily controlled virtual female bots.[17] But as has been formulated in gender studies and queer theory in response to earlier feminist scholarship, this still in some ways very necessary reading does not take into account other player subject positions besides that of the heterosexual male.

  3. Lara as drag queen. The predominantly male players of games like "Tomb Raider" are drawn into identification with the female avatar, immersed in the combat and puzzles of the game. Here the computer game "avatar" operates as an externalized Lacanian "mirror image" of the subject.[18] In his essay "The Mirror Stage", Lacan identifies the key moment when an infant first recognizes her or his reflection in the mirror, engendering the formation of ego, a perception of the self as a member of "the symbolic order" or rules of society/language. This perception of self extends and develops through the individual's lifetime. Over the course of the game, the construction of the player’s feminine identity emerges from the reflective connectivity between the player’s identification with the avatar’s movements in the game space, (a sort of alternate "mirror" reality.) Rigid gender roles are broken down, allowing the young boys and men who constitute the majority of Tomb Raider players to experiment with "wearing" a feminine identity, echoing the phenomenon of gender crossing in Internet chat rooms and Mud’s.
  4. According to Net psychologist Sherry Turkle, virtual contexts can provide a safe zone for gender experimentation, without the more difficult social consequences of going drag in "Real Life." [19] Turkle argues that even heterosexual players can benefit, (therapeutically and socially), in "real life" from inhabiting the other gender’s skin online. Sandy Stone takes the discussion of multiple and cross gender virtual characters a step further by making the case that virtual characters are multiple selves that extend outside the flesh body into cyberspace. Rather than portraying these multiple selves as fictitious characters who mask an individual player's singular core "real life" identity, Stone perceives these multiple personas as extensions of the many different roles we play on and offline, part and parcel to the natural condition of schizophrenia that we all inhabit.[20]

    However, as a single player game, Tomb Raider does not afford the live social feedback loops in Muds and Chat rooms, social responses that contribute as much to identity building and "gendering" as the act of "dressing up" in drag.[21] Nevertheless, the male player navigates her voluptuous female figure through the cavernous architecture of the game much the way a drag queen navigates her ultra feminine form along a runway, (Figure 3), "fake polygonal" breasts thrust defiantly forward complete with breathless feminine pants and commentary. ("Ah hah! " exclaims Lara every time s/he finds a "secret.") And although the game lacks in multi-player social response there are occasions where Lara/theplayer finds herself/himself interacting with Non Player Characters. Animals, monsters, dinosaurs, and humans characters exhibit certain behaviors in combat that the player/Lara must learn to "interact" with. Human Non Player Characters sometimes impart information key to puzzle solving, although usually at these junctures the game shifts to a cinematic narrative "anime" mode which precludes involved player interaction.

    Figure 3. Artist Robert Nideffer’s Gender-bending Tomb Raider Patches. For the online exhibit "Cracking the Maze: Game Patches as Hacker Art" Robert Nideffer prepared these Lara patches which mix matters up further. These patches question whether Lara is a lesbian butch Mona Lisa or a drag queen who forgot to shave.

    Carol Clover has constructed a less affirmative reading of male to female cross gender identification in slasher horror films than Sandy Stone and Sherry Turkle's explorations of online cross gender role play. Carol Clover focuses her attention on "the final girl" protaganist in films like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2". [22] According to Clover’s analysis, in this particular genre of horror film, "the final girl" alone survives bloody conflict, her "phallicized body" operating as a "stand-in" vehicle for the male viewer’s repressed (never acknowledged) homoeroticism. A similar concern arises with male Tomb Raider players–none of the players who responded to my survey were willing to admit to a cross-dressing relationship to Lara. As cross-gender avatar identification becomes more common in various computer games I suspect, (or at least I hope), that the boundaries between "real life" gender norms and game gender norms will become more fluid, allowing for gender experimentation to become more openly accepted in mainstream culture.

  5. Lara Croft is a dominatrix, a femme fatale. Her leather boots "are made for walking", her holster belt is tight, and her arsenal of ammo, pistols and assault rifles is at her fingertips. Some male game players in my survey indicated an affinity for the victims of the female computer game protagonist.(In Tomb Raider I these victims are mostly animals-- unfortunate lions, rats, monkeys and occasional dinosaurs.) These players may likely derive masochistic pleasure from Lara Croft’s "sadomasochistic", repeated destruction of her enemies, accompanied by the obligatory death cries and throes of agony(Figure 4).
  6. This subject configuration is also apparent in plug-ins and patches for games available on the Internet, for example the patch titled "Amazons and Female Robertas" for first person shooter Marathon. "Amazons and Female Robertas" replaces all the male alien attackers in "Marathon" with ridiculously well endowed, bare-breasted Amazons. Being attacked by one of these Amazons may be as close to a session with a live dominatrix as some masochistically inclined gamers will ever achieve.

    Figure 4. Lara in combat. A screenshot of Nude Raider Lara annihilating a pirate in Tomb Raider II. Blood and guts splurt from the pirate's sinewy bulk.

  7. Lara Croft is a positive role model for women and girls and a possible entry point for women into the male discourse domain of computer games. Similar to the way male science fiction writers like Alfred Bester and Samuel Delaney created tough female heroines in cyberpunk fiction, predating the emergence of female science fiction writers and a female readership, the appearance of female heroines in computer games, albeit male constructions of femininity, can be seen as a first step, an invitation for women to play computer games. The second step would be for women and girls to begin to influence the construction of their virtual counterparts in computer games through active fan participation in gaming culture and also a higher level of involvement in the industry.
  8. In the sense that "being a bad girl can be good for women," (the inverse logic of Deborah Tolman and Tracy Higgins article entitled "How Being a Good Girl can be Bad for Women,") violent, capable and sexy women like Lara Croft might be better role models for girls than the few games that have been targeted specifically for girls like "Ms. Pacman", "Barbie Fashion Designer" and the non-violent, social games produced by Purple Moon.[23] Whatever else she may be, Lara does not fit the "bimbo" stereotype (the vapid battle trophy princess common to some earlier computer games). Lara’s character profile is that of a highly educated and adventurous upper class British woman, as adept with combat techniques as puzzle solving (the actual skills developed through game play.) Game play itself is an important pedagogical tool as a prime motivator for boys to learn computer skills, not to mention the more abstract values and modalities of competition, collaboration, strategizing and puzzle solving that are imparted through game play. From a feminist perspective, it is important for women not to be excluded from this cycle and excluded from the positions of influence in the information knowledge sector at large that will be increasingly tied into an "education" in gaming/computer geek culture.

  9. Lara Croft is a vehicle for the queer female gaze. Why should fantasy experiences of violence be exclusively a heterosexist and/or masculine domain? Cogent female heroines like Lara Croft or lesbian television idol Xena Warrior Princess offer women an opportunity to indulge in the abject pleasures of violent bloody conflict. In her book Skin Shows, Judith Halberstam describes a process of "interpretive mayham" embodied in gothic and horror monsters. In the chapter entitled "Bodies that Splatter" she reappropriates the female horror flick heroine as a vehicle for the queer female gaze, applying Michelle Foucault’s and Judith Butler’s theories of subjectivity and gender formation to "Stretch", heroine of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2". [24] She writes, "The technology of monsters when channeled through a dangerous woman with a chainsaw becomes a powerful and queer strategy for activating and enabling monstrosity as opposed to stamping it out." [25] What Halberstam is arguing for is a queer space for slippage between binary gender categories that allows for "monstrous" genders to emerge.
  10. The queer female gaming subject also delights in the abject annihilation of her foes, in the adrenaline rush of combat, the exchange of cuts, shots and blows that rupture the body surface of "the other". (Not to mention the eventual satisfaction of seeing the enemy’s corpse lying in a pool of bitmapped blood on the ground.) Violent computer games and horror films reverse the score on Julia Kristeva’s "abject", the disgust and repulsion for that which transgress boundaries between self and other, subjecthood and objecthood, order and the unclean, law and deviance.[26] In the fantasy realm of Tomb Raider, the abject is transformed from repulsion to visceral thrill, opening up a queer channel for pleasure to the female gamer.

    Game Plug-ins and Patches as Proto-Feminist Hacker Art

    "It's nice to think of artists as hackers who endeavor to get inside cultural systems and make them do things they were never intended to do: artists as culture hackers."

    -Brett Stalbaum[27]

    The Internet provides the technoculture researcher with a visible mapping of desire, digital evidence of an internationally shared lust for the Nuderaider patch.[28] A Web search for Nuderaider produces innumerable fan sites requesting the Nuderaider patch and displaying Nuderaider screen shots. (1,072,226 hits from one search with the Excite search engine search). An older version of the official Tomb Raider homepage even contained a link to the Nuderaider patch. Nuderaider strips Lara Croft’s already scant clothing to reveal polygonal tits and ass as she fights her way up the game levels, operating within the bounds of gender-subject configuration "a", Lara as fetish object of the male gaze. Not all game patches so explicitly echo or reinforce a particular feature of the original game, (in the case of Nuderaider, an exaggeration of Lara’s synthetic erotic appeal). A more exhaustive, in-depth search for almost any shooter produces a strata of alternate and more subversive game scenarios in the form of game plug-ins and patches offered freely from game fans' personal Web sites. Some game companies, like Bungie, developers of Marathon, and Id Software, developers of Doom and Quake, have even capitalized on this wide-spread game hacking by packaging software with their games that makes it easier to manipulate and create new game scenarios.

    Figure 5. Otakon Doom Wad Screenshot. This screenshot shows Otakon Doom, a patch for thee classic first person shooter Doom with a female anime girl fighter named Priss.http://www.netaxs.com/~sleet/otakon/doom.html

    Some of the more amusing patches created by game hacker artists, (and they often create more than one), include the first person shooter Doom patch that morphs the attackers into monster-sized chickens and kangaroos, the Doom patch entitled "Barney and his Minions", and the Marathon patch that replaces the game characters with different colored Gumby dolls.[29] These patches undermine the extremely macho codes of interaction in these games by replacing the standard adult male characters with androgynous animals and goofy childrenšs fantasy characters. Although the category of "feminist game hacker art" is premature since there are very few women participating in this realm of cultural production, there are female protagonists in patches that predate Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Vigilance.[30] The Marathon Infinity patch "Tina Shapes" and "Tina Sounds" replaces the protagonist, "Infinity Bob" with a female "Tina." A Japanese Doom patch entitled "Otakon Doom", (Figure 5), replaces the protagonist with a Japanese anime girlfighter named "Priss." Another Doom patch replaces all the characters in Doom with the cast from the movie "Aliens", including substituting Sigourney Weaver for the male protagonist.

    These patches suggest that the boundary between game patches and official games is permeable, that game patches not only subvert and diversify gender stereotypes in official games, but game hacker artists also are influencing the kinds of gender subject configurations that will pattern the production of future games. As such, game patches not only provide an index to what may be the next "Tomb Raider", game hacking offers a possible strategical means for feminists to participate in the formation of new gender configurations. From Lara as female automaton, Lara as drag queen, Lara as dominatrix, Lara as girl power role model, to Lara as queer babe with a shotgun, and from the gaps in-between, a new range of subject positions will emerge in online game hacking culture that challenge given gender categories and adapt them to the diverse gender sensibilities of men, women and others.

    End Notes:

    1. Parasitic Interventions: Game Patches and Hacker Art is forthcoming in Mariosophy: The Culture of Electronic Games. "Female Bobs Arrive at Dusk" is forthcoming in Cyberfeminisms: Next Protocols. "Mutation.fem" is forthcoming in Zero Degrees Monstrosities.(Publishers unconfirmed, I am also planning to release all of these texts in an digital TK3 book.)

    2. Sandy Stone, The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995) p. 9.

    3. Jeremey Rifkin, The End of Work (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995) p.236.

    4. A "Deathmatch" is a multi-player shooter game played between a small number of combatants.

    5. Marshall McLuhan, "The Gutenberg Galaxy" in the Essential McLuhan, edited by Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingron (New York: BasicBooks, 1995).

    6. "Tomb Raider", starring Lara Croft, came out in 1996, followed by Tomb Raider II and is soon to be a major motion picture. There are rumors of other similar games soon to be released.

    7. The survey is included in the appendix. The survey contains multiple choice questions in respect to different power relations between game player and avatar. The survey also collected demographic information regarding the gender and sexuality of game players. The survey was distributed to Tomb Raider fans on the Internet from April to May of 1998.

    8. Mark P. Wolf, "Inventing Space: Toward a Taxonomy of On- and Off-Screen Space in Video Games", Film Quarterly, Volume 51, Number 1, Fall 1997, p. 22 (1997).

    9. See Wolf, [8].

    10. Simon Penny, "Virtual Reality as the End of the Enlightenment Project", (1992). http://www.art.cfa.cmu.edu/Penny/texts/VR_Dia.html

    11. Gillian Skirrow, "Hellvision: An analysis of video games"

    12. Judy Malloy is one of the early pioneer artists in this area. http://www.eastgate.com/people/Malloy.html

    13. Chris Csikszentmihalyi, lecture presented at San Jose State University in April, 1998.

    14. Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure in Narrative Cinema" in Feminism and Film Theory, ed. Constance Penley (New York: Routledge, 1998).

    15. Marshall McCluhan, "The Mechanical Bride" in the Essential McLuhan, edited by Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingron (New York: BasicBooks, 1995).

    16. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality (New York: Random House, 1976) p. 106.

    17. See Csikszentmihalyi [13].

    18. Jaques Lacan, "The Mirror Stage" in Ecrits: A Selection, trans. by Alan Sheridan, (New York: Norton, 1977).

    19. Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995) p. 10.

    20. See Stone [2] p. 92.

    21. Judith Butler, Gender trouble : feminism and the subversion of identity (New York : Routledge, 1990).

    22. Carol Clover, Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992) p. 61.

    23. Deborah Tolman and Tracy Higgins, "How Being a Good Girl Can Be Bad for Girls" in Good Girls/Bad Girls ed. by Nan Bauer Maglin and Donna Perry (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994).

    24. Judith Halberstam, Skin shows: gothic horror and the technology of monsters (Durham: Duke University Press, 1995)138-177.

    25. See Halberstam [24] p.143.

    26. Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982) 1-5.

    27. Brett Stalbaum, Interview in Rhizome, May 1, 1998.

    28. A game "patch" is sometimes merely a bit of code that fixes a bug; patches do not always radically alter a game.

    29. Many of these more humorous Doom wads are available at http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/5759/doom.html.

    30. Some exceptions are cultural hackers from "the fine art’ rather than popular art arena including the Australian women’s artist group VNS Matrix and my own Marathon Hack, Madame Polly. Also, as it is sometimes difficult to identify gender on the Internet, there may be women game hacker artists, although until now my leads have turned out to be men with feminine names.

     

     

    Appendix

    Anonymous Tomb Raider Survey

    (Distributed by Andy Schleiner to 30 respondents over e-mail from April to May of 1998)

    << Anonymous Tomb Raider Survey>>

    This is not a joke. Please answer the short list of questions as accurately as possible. Mark the multiple choice ones with an x.

    1. Age:

    2. Sex:

    Male

    Female

    3. You are:

    Single

    In a Couple

    4.You are:

    Straight

    Gay

    Bi

    5. How long have you played video games?

  11. When playing Tomb Raider my relationship to the protagonist, Lara Croft would be best described as:
  1. I identify with her and feel immersed in the game world.
  2. She is a puppet that I am conscious of watching and controlling
  3. I sympathize with other characters/monsters in the game when Lara Croft annihilates them.
  4. Other (Please describe)
  5. 7. When I play Tomb Raider I feel: (Please mark all that apply)
  1. tough
  2. superhuman
  3. swift
  4. strong
  5. girly
  6. sexy
  7. sadistic
  8. 8.A 3D virtual woman like Lara Croft is attractive because:
  1. she has perfect body proportions
  2. her polygons turn me on
  3. she has a plastic 3D look
  4. she knows how to fight and use her weapons
  5. other(Please explain)
  6. 9.Would you like to have a wider selection of characters to chose from in Tomb Raider?

If yes, which of the following:

  1. men characters
  2. more women characters
  3. male monsters
  4. female monsters
  5. 10. Have you ever used the Nuderaider plug-in?

If yes, why were you attracted to it and did it fulfill your expectations?

11. Have you ever played a character of the opposite sex in a Mud?

Figure Caption List:

Figure 1. Black Widow, a 1980’s style 2-D game. This game is an example of the 2 dimensional games popular in the 1980's. Spiders and bugs are restricted to moving on the single flat plane of the spider web.

Figure 2. The Nude Raider Patch for Tomb Raider II. The Nude Raider Patch for Tomb Raider II exhibits a higher resolution and smoother surface than the very clunky looking angular Nude Raider Patch for the first Tomb Raider. Even this Nude Raider Patch for Tomb Raider II has a crude absurdly robotic low surface polygon count which somehow does not deter its many fans.

Figure 3. Artist Robert Nideffer’s Gender-bending Tomb Raider Patches. For the online exhibit "Cracking the Maze: Game Patches as Hacker Art" Robert Nideffer prepared these Lara patches which mix matters up further. These patches question whether Lara is a lesbian butch Mona Lisa or a drag queen who forgot to shave.

Figure 4. Lara in combat. A screenshot of Nude Raider Lara annihilating a pirate in Tomb Raider II. Blood and guts splurt from the pirate's sinewy bulk.

Figure 5. Otakon Doom Wad Screenshot. This screenshot shows Otakon Doom, a patch for thee classic first person shooter Doom with a female anime girl fighter named Priss.

http://www.netaxs.com/~sleet/otakon/doom.html